According to the latest Gallup poll, two in three of Americans now support legalizing marijuana, marking the third consecutive year that support for legalization has grown. In 1969, when Gallup first asked Americans about legalizing cannabis, it was an unpopular idea with12 percent saying that the plant should be legal. As more Americans begin to understand what cannabis is, support for legalization continues to grow, along with the number of states that have passed medical and adult-use marijuana laws.

Today, cannabis is legal in 33 states and in Washington, D.C. With a spiraling opioids crisis taking place nationwide, more Americans have been turning to medical marijuana for pain management as well as to treat other conditions like multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, epilepsy, nerve pain, PTSD, nausea and weight loss. While serious progress has been made, the cannabis industry still faces a variety of challenges — from high taxes, over-regulation, a lack of banking, fractured state-by-state laws, outdated social media policies and general confusion about where to find reliable, trusted information. Some consumers still have basic questions about where and how to obtain a medical marijuana card and healthcare providers are looking to become better educated about what role the plant can play in personalized health and wellness regimes.

“Consumers and healthcare providers are seeking out trusted information and many are in need of more education,” said Josh Richman, an executive at BEYOND / HELLO, a leading cannabis dispensary company focused on bringing the best-personalized treatments and products to customers. “Businesses, associations and industry leaders in the space are coming together to help close this education gap and are finding creative ways to provide the public with opportunities to have open dialogues, get their questions answered and hear straight from experts on a variety of topics.”

In Philadelphia, the sixth largest city in the U.S., BEYOND / HELLO, is coming together with cannabis businesses, community leaders and experts to help raise awareness of Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Program, which officially launched last year. The company will host the inaugural GO BEYOND Conference for the public on Thursday, January 17, 2019, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at BEYOND / HELLO Philadelphia at 1206 Sansom Street in Center City Philadelphia. The free-and-open-to-the-public event will promote candid discussions about the state’s program, medical cannabis, the history of legalization and culture.

The conference will feature community leaders, professional athletes, elected officials, media, healthcare professionals, cannabis industry leaders and professional athletes like: Former Philadelphia Flyers enforcer and an Athletes for Care Athlete Riley Cote; retired Philadelphia Eagles Todd Herremans; award-winning cartoonist and best-selling author Box Brown; Rothman Institute board-certified physician Dr. Ari GreisDirector of Operations at Medically Jointed and Director of Opportunity for Diasporic Alliance for Cannabis Opportunities (DACO) Justin Ivey; Temple University Assistant Professor of Pharmacology Dr. Sara Jane Ward, PhD; Philadelphia Inquirer’s cannabis and business reporter Sam WoodBernadine Hawes, American Cities Foundation Small Business Initiative Director; Philadelphia-based journalist and editor A.D. AmorosiDr. Lynn Bornfriend, MD, Psychiatrist,Vanessa Maria Graber of PhillyCam and the Station Manager and founder of WPPM 106.5 FM, producer of Fully Baked RadioDr. Helena Yardley, PhD, Director of Research,, the Franklin Group and Altus LabsCresco LabsTerrapin PennsylvaniaPrime Wellness of PennsylvaniaMoxie by PurePennVireo HealthIlera HealthcareDACOUniversity of the SciencesAthletes for Care, among others.

The conference’s discussions will cover a variety of important topics, including what to know about cannabis, medical marijuana, Pennsylvania’s program, what to know before getting your medical card or heading to the dispensary, information on the latest research, the history of legalization and other useful information.

“Our hope is to arm the public, healthcare professionals and decision makers with more facts, so they’re able to make smarter, more informed decisions. By hosting educational events like the GO BEYOND Conference, we are working to close that information gap,” said Richman.

Those interested in attending the GO BEYOND Conference can sign up to attend by visiting will be regularly updated with confirmed speakers and additional information on the conference’s schedule.

Originally posted on

Ellen Mellody is a senior vice president at Powerplant Global Strategies and seasoned communications strategist, writer and cannabis legalization activist with more than 20 years of strategic communications, media training, public affairs, government, political, issue management, crisis and advocacy experience.